Creating sounds themes for Ubuntu 9.10 and 10.04

I recently installed Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx and was impressed with the work done by its developers. But the default system sounds were still the same and I didn't like them. So, I started searching for a way to change these sounds and make my own sound theme.

It turns out that it was very easy to do this in versions of Ubuntu prior to 9.10. There, you just had to go to System>Preferences>Sounds and change the sounds associated with each event manually. But, those options are not there in the Sound Preferences window anymore. Now, I know that someone is going to make a new tool soon to change these sounds, but till then, you can follow the steps below to make your own custom Ubuntu sound theme.

Step 1: Open the folder /usr/share/sounds as root. To do this, you can press Alt+F2, and type gksudo nautilus in the run window. Enter your password, and browse to the folder.

Step 2: Create a new folder and name it as the name you want to call your theme. For now, I'll call it mytheme.

Step 3: Inside this folder, create a new file and call it index.theme. Then, open it using your favorite text editor and enter the following in the file:


[Sound Theme]
Name=mytheme
Directories=stereo

[stereo]
OutputProfile=stereo

In this, replace mytheme with your theme name.

Step 4: Create a directory called stereo inside your theme directory. This is the directory which will contain all the sound files for your new theme.

Step 5: This is when you actually select which sounds you want to keep for which events. Some common events and their sound's filenames required are given below. For a complete list (as complete as I could find), goto Sound Naming Specifications.


Alerts:

dialog-error
battery-low

Notifications:
message-new-instant
message-new-email
phone-incoming-call
system-bootup
system-ready
system-shutdown
desktop-login
desktop-logout
service-login
service-logout
battery-caution
dialog-warning
dialog-information
dialog-question

Actions:

phone-outgoing-calling
message-sent-instant
message-sent-email
bell
trash-empty
item-deleted
file-trash

Input Feedback:

window-close
window-slide
dialog-ok
dialog-cancel
button-pressed
button-released
menu-click
button-toggle-on
button-toggle-off
item-selected

Step 4: After you have selected some of these sound files, you have to convert it to .ogg, .oga, or .wav format (these are the formats that I was able to test successfully, but the default Ubuntu sounds are in .ogg, so, you may want to convert to that). To convert to .ogg or .oga formats, you can use a software called Sound Converter, available through the software center or the package manager. Or you can just click here to install it.

Step 5: Now, just put these files in the stereo directory you created above.

Step 6: This is the easiest step. Goto Syetem > Preferences > Sound. In the drop-down menu, you should be able to see the name of the new theme you created. Select that, close and reboot. software-update-urgent